MarketWatch: Amazon hit with antitrust lawsuit from California, which claims seller rules are increasing consumer prices

September 14, 2022 Media

California is suing Inc., claiming the e-commerce giant’s policies for those who sell on its platform have blocked competition and driven up prices for consumers, state Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Wednesday.

Bonta said that by requiring third-party sellers on its website not to sell their wares for lower prices elsewhere, Amazon AMZN, 1.11% is violating California’s Unfair Competition Law and the Cartwright Act, which bars agreements that restrain trade.

The key difference between the D.C. and California lawsuits is that Bonta also asserts the state’s Unfair Competition Law, “which outlaws any unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business act or practice,” said Katherine Van Dyck, senior legal counsel at the American Economic Liberties Project, a nonprofit organization that advocates against concentrated economic power. “And it’s being pursued in a state with a very long history of robust consumer protection and antitrust enforcement,” she added.

As for the potential impact of California’s lawsuit, she said “any time a company with nationwide practices is forced to change them in a state the size of California, there is a good chance those changes will be implemented across the board.”